Are Elon Musk’s Orders Promoting Overwork? – Forbes

Mike Blake/Reuters

Tesla’s withdrawal is among a series of changes to the S&P 500 ESG since April 22.

In the confusion over the memoranda of Elon Musk on the return of the executives of the Tesla to work – taking down “some pseudo remote office” and tweeting that those who prefer remote work should “pretend to work” elsewhere – lost sight of that they weren’t just about where to work. They also determined how much time the work should consume for Tesla executives.

Recalling a former supervisor, Musk – who, according to a Reuters report released Friday, wants to cut jobs and pause hiring – began the statement by saying that “anyone who wants to do remote work should be in the office for a minimum (and I mean *minimum*) of 40 hours a week or leave Tesla.” He talked about “why he lived so long at the factory” and seemed to suggest that working remotely would be “faking work”.

The point, experts say, is that today’s employees don’t just want flexibility in where they work. They want flexibility about when, and they want their managers’ confidence to be measured in the outcome of the work they do, even if it takes less time.

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An April report from Future Forum, a future of work research consortium launched by Slack and other partners, found that while 79% of respondents said they wanted location flexibility, 94% said they wanted to choose their work hours.

“People want flexibility in location and time,” he says. Cali Williams Yost, founder of Flex+Strategy Group, which works with companies on workplace policies. “There is a debate right now as to how we can work better and smarter.” As burnout and mental health issues increase, memos that imply working more than 40 hours a week can “seem deaf to reality,” she says.

The issue of long working hours is not new territory for Musk, the richest man in the world, who is also, if you don’t know, trying to buy up Twitter, where workers have been told they can work from home “forever.” ”.

“That’s very consistent with who he is,” says Gianpiero Petriglieri, a professor at INSEAD’s business school who studies leadership and learning in the workplace. “He’s the poster child for the overworked culture. He wants people to be completely committed.”

Musk recently praised workers in China who, amid Covid-19-related lockdowns, were “staying late to finish work…while in America people are trying to avoid going to work.”
During another uproar over his 2018 tweets that he would take Tesla private, Musk gave a tearful interview with the New York Times, saying he worked up to 120 hours a week, hadn’t taken more than a week off since 2001, and what hours such intense work “really came at the expense of seeing my children. And see friends.”

In 2015, during an appearance at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit, he was asked about being CEO of two companies and said he “would not recommend”. (The same can be said for adding a third.)

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Musk’s most recent communications were aimed at Tesla executives, who, like many senior managers, likely already work well over 40 hours a week. He also appeared to be trying to put executive privileges into perspective with Tesla factory workers, saying the 40-hour minimum is “less than what we demand of factory workers” and reminding executives that “the more senior you are, more visible should be your presence.”

But while this may be taking “moral ground,” says Petriglieri, it could also undermine a workplace’s inclusiveness and suggests that “anyone who isn’t like me doesn’t belong here,” he says. “He is trading inclusion for inspiration.”

This is a common problem with visionary leaders, who expect everyone to be as committed as they are, says Petriglieri. For these founders, “their Achilles heel is inclusion. They are constantly saying this is the culture they want… one of the reasons our cultures have trouble being inclusive is that we love visionary leaders.”

Petriglieri, who says he is a fan of the office, suggests that while much of the return-to-work debate has been about where work takes place, it is also about quantity.

“Underneath all the talk of remote work versus office work is actually the talk of overwork,” he says. Even though the last couple of years have shown that people can be productive working remotely, “the assumption is that if people are in the office, they will work harder. It’s the old thing of senior executives wanting control,” he says. “As always with [Musk]he’s kind of saying the silent part out loud.”

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